Kingwood, TX asked in Real Estate Law for Texas

Q: Are verbal real estate contracts binding in Texas? My dad’s name isn’t on the deed of LeaseToOwn that’s being sold.

My dads friend has been letting him live in a lease to own property for last 10 years. They have NO written agreement, only a Verbal agreement. His friend’s ex-wife’s name is on the mortgage and they are selling the property as part of mediation and offering to only give him a FRACTION of equity he’s paid. Does my dad have any claim to the equity he’s built in the house? He’s been paying 9 full years of a 15year fixed with record of payments, and even remodeled the property (House in Houston, Texas).

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1 Lawyer Answer
Arturo C. Aguilar
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Arturo C. Aguilar PRO label
Answered
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The statute of frauds requires that all contracts for the sale of land be reduced to writing. It sounds like your dad would have to file suit to quiet title to the property, and allege an unjust enrichment cause of action, which is probably the only claim in equity he can prove that payments came from him. It sounds like you may have some good proof of him making payments and even remodeling. Your dad has 4 years to bring the claim from when the "breach" occurred. I encourage you to contact a lawyer as soon as possible so that they may more thoroughly advise you of your rights.

Anthony M. Avery agrees with this answer

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